As part of a series, various members of The Good Phight’s writing staff are going to give their thoughts on what would make the perfect Phillies’ offseason. We’ve applied some rules that we feel are close to what the actual organization will follow to help make it as plausible as possible.
The Phillies are entering a critical year in their organizational direction. Missing the playoffs this past season has led to people losing their jobs and for the team to take serious stock of how they plan on proceeding building a roster that will lead them back to the postseason.
Ethan’s 2020-21 Phillies offseason plan
MLBTR provides the arbitration estimates that we’ll need and since it was a wacky year, we’re going with Method 3 of the model. You need to tell if you are offering arbitration or if you are non-tendering these players:
- Seranthony Dominguez – $900K - YES
- Zach Eflin – $3.7MM - YES
- Rhys Hoskins – $3.4MM - YES
- Andrew Knapp – $1.0MM - YES
- Hector Neris – $5.3MM - YES
- Vince Velasquez – $4.0MM - NO
- Heath Hembree – $1.8MM - NO
These should all be fairly simply decisions. While Velasquez still has a low arbitration number, the anticipated number of nontendered players that appears to be heading into free agency heightens the likelihood that someone better will be available to replace Velasquez in the rotation. If not, letting guys like Damon Jones and Adonis Medina seem preferable to letting Velasquez throw 95 pitches in 3 2⁄3 innings every night.
Let’s get down to brass tacks: this team needs help.
And a lot of it.
They have painted themselves into a corner where the only real possibility is to spend their way out of it. They aren’t a rebuilding team anymore, so it’s ok to start talking about spending money on free agents. There are a lot of areas to address, so let’s open up the checkbooks. For estimates, I used Fangraphs’ project of guessing salaries and went from there.
RP Brad Hand - 2 years, $18 million. Let’s lock down the closer spot with someone who can swing into eighth inning issues should they arise.
RP Blake Parker - 1 year, $1 million. He was good in 2020, so let’s roll the dice on a repeat.
SP Rich Hill - 1 year, $8 million. Possibly the most controversial move I’ll make, but even at 41, Hill is really good. He’s only going to make 15-18 starts and that’s ok since we can rely on names like Adonis Medina and Damon Jones as minor league depth, but pairing Hill and his high spin curveball with new pitching coach Caleb Cotham seems like a dream pairing.
C J.T. Realmuto - 6 years, $138 million. Ok, maybe this is the controversial move. Sure, the money is going to be steep and it could be spent better elsewhere. But they did this to themselves. They made themselves so weak depth wise that not getting Realmuto is going to hurt this team badly. You can dream on James McCann all you want, but he just feels like a walking overpay. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if he comes to Philadelphia, but why not just get the guy who you know is going to be worth it for the next 2-3 years anyway? Plus, once the DH is installed, his bat can still stay in the lineup even on days he needs a blow from behind the dish. The sixth year hurts, but in the end, it needs to happen.
SS Adeiny Hechevarria - MiLB deal. Give me someone that can backup Segura in case of injury that isn’t a green rookie like Nick Maton.
INF Brad Miller - 1 year, $1.5 million. Another guy that can play around the infield as well as the outfield in a pinch. Plus, he’s really good off the bench as a pinch hitter. It’s a lot of guaranteed money for a bench bat, but hey, how do you think the Dodgers keep winning? They are stacked with a deep depth chart that can play for extended periods of time and give some productivity. Let’s try and emulate that.
OF Jake Marisnick - 1 year, $1 million. Hey, another outfielder? Sure. In case something happened to anyone, I’d like to have a little depth there that is somewhat competent with the bat at the glove. Plus, in the late games, Marisnick can give a nice defensive upgrade in either left or center field.
It’s hard to determine who the team should be making trades with when it seems that all players who are cheap and talented (a commodity the Phillies lack) are going to be held closely by opposing teams. With the pandemic shutdown causing many front offices to tighten their belts, having a player who can produce while barely making a ripple in the ledger is something that will be prized.
One way to take advantage of this is to look at players in mid- to small-markets that might have someone on the roster is that is a little too costly right now and doesn’t line up with their contending window. I’m think about teams that are still rebuilding and may not want to spend that extra few million on a player that won’t help them win in the near future. It’s a way the Phillies can look to add some talent from teams that need to lower payroll.
There is one player I think the Phillies need to be going after is Whit Merrifield. We’ve heard his name pop up before as a possible target, but the Royals hung onto him like grim death. Even at near 32 years old, Merrifield is still a highly productive player. His 2020 production took a slight dip, but a lot of that can be blamed on his BABIP dropping about 60 points. Is that a little scary for a player that relies on speed a lot as part of his game? Yes. But as a team built to win now, it’s best the Phillies try to maximize this window they have open and Merrifield is still a good player. Plus. his $6.75M contract for 2021 isn’t that much money that will help the roster now and in 2022.
For the Royals, now, two years later, they are that much closer to losing him (though he does have three years of pretty cheap control left), but they aren’t that much closer to being any good. Trading him this offseason before he loses any more team control seems like the best route for them, so if I’m running the team, I’m coming to the Royals with this offer:
Whit Merrifield for Scott Kingery, Francisco Morales and Kendall Simmons
A pretty steep package, but one that the Phillies should be willing to pay. Kingery gets a change of scenery that could help his reach his potential, something the Phillies might regret should he do so. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the likelihood of him reaching that potential seem lower with each passing year. Morales is the top prospect being sent here and while he still does have a lot of projectability, his future seems more “reliever” than “starter”. If that’s the case, it makes trading him that much more palatable. Simmons is the wild card in this deal. He still has a lot of potential in his own right, but losing the 2020 season hurt his ability to lose some of the swing and miss in his game. Plus, his defensive home still isn’t settled.
This is probably the only trade that is in the ballpark of realistic I can think of. Like I mentioned above, teams are going to hoard younger players this year. Going after those that are still good, but maybe a little older, a little more expensive could be an exploitable route the team can go to get better.
Since there is no indication that an agreement about a National League DH is close, we’re going to operate this exercise as if there is none.
2021 World Series champion Phillies
|Rotation||Name||2021 Salary||Position||Name||2021 Salary|
|Rotation||Name||2021 Salary||Position||Name||2021 Salary|
|SP1||Aaron Nola||$12,250,000||C||J.T. Realmuto||$23,000,000|
|SP2||Zack Wheeler||$22,250,000||1B||Rhys Hoskins||$3,400,000|
|SP3||Zach Eflin||$3,700,000||2B||Whit Merrifield||$6,750,000|
|SP4||Spencer Howard||$575,000||3B||Alec Bohm||$575,000|
|SP5||Rich Hill||$8,000,000||SS||Jean Segura||$14,850,000|
|RP||Hector Neris||$5,300,000||LF||Andrew McCutchen||$20,000,000|
|RP||Connor Brogdon||$575,000||CF||Adam Haseley||$575,000|
|RP||Ranger Suarez||$575,000||RF||Bryce Harper||$27,538,462|
|RP||Jojo Romero||$575,000||Bench||Andrew Knapp||$1,000,000|
|RP||David Hale||$575,000||Bench||Roman Quinn||$575,000|
|RP||Brad Hand||$9,000,000||Bench||Adeiny Hechevarria||$575,000|
|RP||Blake Parker||$1,000,000||Bench||Brad Miller||$1,500,000|
|RP||random ST signee||$575,000||Bench||Jake Marisnick||$1,000,000|
|The dead and gone|
|Seranthony Dominguez||$900,000||Total Payroll||$179,788,462|
No summary is needed.
This is the greatest iteration of the Phillies we have seen since the 2011 juggernaut. Consider this my general manager application.
John? Andy? If you’re reading this, you have my email.
Give a summary of your team. How do you think it would fare? Are there strengths? Weaknesses? Sell us on your plan and why it’s the best one for the Phillies moving forward.